It’s been an amazing couple of weeks so far here in Tuscany. I find that I’m still pinching myself every morning when I wake up just to make sure that it’s true…I’m really here, just like I promised myself I would be.
How Travel Is Healing My Broken Heart – First Stop – Tuscany
I’m in this beautiful part of the world for many reasons; to explore a place I’ve always dreamt of visiting, to network with like minded travelers and share our similarities, to promote my social media management business, but mostly I’m here to heal.
Nursing myself back from a devastating life change is number one on my list. I’m here to discover who I am and what I really want from my life as it is now, and to fall in love with myself. That’s always seemed a strange concept to me. We’re taught that loving you, putting yourself first is selfish.
In this short few months of self discovery and with the help of a life coach and many, many Law of Attraction books, as well as family (love you Mom) and my beautiful daughters, I’ve learned that if I don’t put myself first, if I don’t love myself above all else, I have nothing to offer anyone else. It’s not selfish it’s necessary.
Side note: Let me say that as a mother you’re prepared to offer advice and support to your children but one of the lessons in all of this has been that, when I needed support the most, it was my three amazing daughters who where there to support me, lift me up, make me laugh, and helped me to face truths about myself. I didn’t think I could love them any more then I do and yet here I am finding myself totally in love with them all over again! I have three wonderful sons, but it was my daughters who helped make my life whole again.
How it started…
The past few months of my life were thrust upon me suddenly and unexpectedly. You ever see that scene in the movie, “Meet Joe Black”, in the first 1/2 hour of the movie Brad Pitt meets the girl in the diner, they part ways, he goes to cross the street and BAM, a freaking truck wipes him out? That’s what my experience was like!
At first the thought of starting my life over, at 50, in a way I hadn’t planned was terrifying. Why was this happening to me? What had I done to deserve this shit? What hadn’t I done? I’m a good person. Could I have avoided this, should I have done something sooner to prevent this?
All the typical thoughts of resentment, anger; feelings of failure, loss, and betrayal a person faces when a sudden and unexpected life-changing event occurs was happening to me.
At first, like anyone else would, I curled up, pulled the covers over my head, and didn’t want to face reality. If I didn’t acknowledge it, it wasn’t real, right? If I stayed in bed long enough, with the curtains drawn, and ignored the issue, it would go away and things would be as they were.
After two weeks barley doing more then sleeping and watching mindless television, I decided that this way of dealing with life wasn’t going to get me the answers I wanted or make my problems go away.
So I threw the covers off, swung my legs over the side of the bed, and stood up. And my pajama bottoms promptly fell to the floor! As part of my “block the world out and your problems won’t exist” period, I’d also not eaten much of anything.
Looking at my pj’s pooled around my ankles and thinking, “Well, you did want to lose some weight.” I busted out laughing. One of those belly laughs where you can’t catch your breath and tears and snot run down your face.
I collapsed on the bed, rolling back and forth with laugh cramps, trying to catch my breath. While I was hiccuping laughter, burps from the air I was sucking in, and yes, a few loud farts, I realized that it felt good to feel joy again, even for such a small, silly thing.
In those few minutes I decided I wasn’t going to hide from anything or anyone again. No matter what it took, I wasn’t going to allow anyone to ever take my joy from me…EVER!
So I stood up, still giggling, and looked at myself in the mirror. Yikes! I had some work to do! It’s amazing what 2 weeks of crying under the blankets in a dark room can do to your complexion. My first order of business…shower, god did I stink!
So that first day, and I’ll call it my first day of awakening, after I showered and had a bit to eat, I grabbed a pad of paper, went for a walk, filled my lungs with fresh air, and found a place to sit and really give a think about what I wanted my life to be from that point on.
I understood that, regardless of what had happened, I had to keep living. Life wasn’t going to stop, lots of people had been through what I had been through and worse and lived. So I made a conscious effort to never feel sorry for myself again. I had to be the one to change things; I had to be the creator of my life from that moment on.
The burning question for me was, what did I want? What direction did I want my life to head? Since travel has been my passion always, and since I had already established a really good following on my social media and travel website, I realized that this was the path that I should continue on.
My first order of business…where did I want to go? What place had I always wanted to visit that I put on the back burner because it didn’t fit into the life that I previously had. (Let’s face it; I had put it on the back burner because HE didn’t want to go!)
Naturally it was Tuscany
I was going to Tuscany. I had seen both “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat, Pray, Love” when everyone else had. They were great movies and inspired me to pursue my travels, like they did every woman during their popularity. But the stories behind both movies now resonated with me more then ever, especially “Under the Tuscan Sun”. I am a travel writer, I was betrayed, my life changed in a way that was unexpected.
But, unlike Diane Lane, I was going to make it my mission to get to Tuscany at all costs. The reality of my life was obvious. I didn’t have a big house to sell that would give me money to buy a villa. Actually I didn’t want to buy a villa, just to spend a few months discovering who I am. I also didn’t have two friends who gave me a first class ticket! I had no idea how I was going to make it to Tuscany; I just knew that I was going to do it.
My new life starts
I won’t bore you with the details, but after a few tough months I had worked out a divorce agreement, sold what I could to have some starting money, and had my ticket back to the US. (I was living overseas in Asia having given up everything to move there to support my husband.) Tuscany sat in the back of my mind and whenever I got the chance, which was pretty much every day, I researched my trip online.
At this point I was pretty much living, breathing, eating, and visualizing everything I could using the Law of Attraction. This way of life felt right to me. Without realizing it, I had been, on a small scale, living that way of thinking all along. But putting my efforts in creating a life that I wanted and being the controller of my own power was proving to, not just be right, but feel good.
So my every thought was about being in Tuscany. The how wasn’t my job, but let me tell you, at first, that went against everything that I was. I’m like a dog with a bone. I was, admittedly, a control freak. I needed to know how things were going to work out, and I wanted to be in control of everything. Letting that go and allowing the Universe to figure it all out was a hard pill to swallow; much like pulling a meaty bone out of the jaws of a big dog! But once I learned how to do it and allowed my intentions to come, understanding that how they materialized wasn’t my job was truly mind blowing.
Here I am…a bit of TMI here!
Jump ahead 7 months and here I am, sitting outside in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany, working, writing, and falling in love with myself. Am I finished discovering who I am and what I want…hell no! But the journey is the best part. Discovering what I want and doing exactly what I want, where I want, with whom I want is a new and exciting place to be.
I’ve forgiven those who’ve hurt me and realize that, although no longer a part of my life, I have to be thankful for my experience with them because it’s lead me to this place, this time, this me.
I’ve mended relationships with family and friends in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do had I not learned what I have. I’ve accepted a new, more open way of seeing the world so that I don’t judge or care if I’m judged. I just let things be.
I’ve found joy in places that I never thought I could, and with people that I never thought I could. I’ve discovered things about myself that I didn’t know and I’ve reached a level of self awareness and love that I didn’t know was possible. I am me…but better!
I drink wine whenever I want…it goes pretty good with eggs in the morning. I sleep in late when I want to, I wear what I want, even if it doesn’t match, I even eat whatever the hell I want to when I want…I made a huge plate of pasta at 11:00 pm the other night, ate it in bed and enjoyed every single bite! I have a problem digesting pasta, it causes me a lot of gas, but guess what? I farted my ass off and didn’t give a shit cause, not only did it make me laugh and gag at the same time, but I didn’t have to consider anybody else while I was doing it! That feeling was liberating….
Along the way I’ve drawn to myself the most amazing people and experiences. I know I’ve go a lot of work to do, but I also celebrate what I’ve learned about myself. I’m pretty damn great!
The best thing about this short journey is that I’m excited about the rest of it! I’m curious about who I will become, who I will meet and I know that, regardless of what happens, I’m the creator of my life, every single minute of it. I’m the one who determines my happiness.
I’ve also accepted and embrace the fact that, although my heart was broken and scarred, when the time is right, I’ll love again. He’s out there…somewhere…manifesting me…
My greatest hope for my life is that I inspire other women who are faced with sorrow, pain, and uncertainty to reach within and find their own power. I’m 51 and have just started on the new journey of my life. It’s never too late and you’re never too old to live the life you want.
I’m pretty freaking excited and hope that you, the reader, follow along with me. And if you find some inspiration in my story and journey, then I’m thrilled to pieces about that and will consider my life totally successful!
Dream big, reach for it all, but most importantly LOVE yourself and all your imperfections. For it’s the cracks that let the light through…
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